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What Was Big in HCM's 2016

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What Was Big in HCM's 2016

December 27, 2016
By Steve Anderson
Contributing Writer

For most people out there, 2016 was a year of big changes, some for the better, and others not so much. Human capital management (HCM) was no different, and this field was hit by plenty of changes with more likely to follow. As we approach 2017, it's a good time to take a look back at the year that was and see what hit this year, and what may affect us all next year.

Several major developments hit HCM this year, and perhaps one of the biggest was the launch of the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA). The DTSA's provisions established a complete federal cause of action for instances of trade secret misappropriation that emerged, and with no floor on the value of said secrets. Whether worth one dollar or one billion, the amounts didn't matter. Some unusual provisions were also included, such as the establishment of ex parte seizure orders for some circumstances and protections for whistleblowers.

Perhaps even bigger than that was the response to the issue of non-compete agreements. With a Department of the Treasury report noting that non-compete agreements were hampering worker mobility, the government started looking at whether this was really necessary or was being used against the average worker. This led to a “Call to Action” from the White House in October requesting states ban such agreements, particularly for certain classes of worker.

There are also some new provisions out requiring a certain amount of paid sick time to be offered to every worker. Though these are geographically limited and often only in certain states or jurisdictions, it will be vital for HCM to take notice of whether or not such principles apply. Further points emerged around establishing unions, around joint employers, and several other topics.

It's a lot to take in, but that's part and parcel of the HCM brand. Constantly shifting laws must be kept track of and their resulting policies put into practice accordingly. Just trying to keep track can be difficult; the issues about non-compete agreements may well mean a lot of changes for companies, particularly in the rapidly-growing “gig economy” where employees are mostly independent contractors and issues of “misclassification” are constantly arising. That's making for plenty of administrative issues for HCM to tackle, and keeping all of this straight will help keep companies from running afoul with various regulatory elements.

2016 meant a lot of changes on a lot of fronts, and there's every indication that 2017 will mean likewise.  A new president, a new way of thought, and a changing world economy means more labor practice changes to come. HCM, meanwhile, will likely be ready to stand in that gap and keep companies running.

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